I love throwing a good party. Seriously. It's probably in my top three favorite things in life. And if experience has taught me anything, it's that there are definitely hacks to take your party to the next level and separate them from a regular old wine and cheese affair.
My roommate/BFF and I have always bonded over our zealous love of entertaining. We genuinely love putting on our creative hats and coming up with ways to make a party truly unique, and we also take a ton of pride in creating an ambiance and atmosphere in which our guests seem to truly let loose and enjoy themselves.
And if there's one thing we've learned over the years, it's that an awesome party energy doesn't just happen randomly — it actually takes a lot of thought and planning, even when it might feel as though the party has a life of it's own. We've noticed that everything from music, to lighting, to furniture arrangement can either help elevate or diminish a good party vibe, and yet we find a lot of people don't seem to realize it when planning parties of their own.
If you're getting ready to throw a party and want it to be the most awesome time possible, here are 11 tips that should take your get together — whether big or small — to the next level.
1. Focus On Furniture Flow
According to style and lifestyle expert Clinton Kelly in a video for Epicurious, good furniture flow is one of the most important elements of a good party. He said you want to make sure your guests can move through your entire space without everyone getting bottlenecked in a particular corner, and also noted you should provide enough seating for 20 percent of your guests to be able to sit at any given time. He recommended arranging your furniture in a horseshoe shape, allowing guests to be able to sit down and get up without disturbing other guests or conversations.
2. Think About Lighting
A piece on InvitingHome.com stressed the relationship between lighting and mood, noting that lighting is crucial in creating an overall atmosphere. I personally like to keep party lighting low, opting for lamps placed throughout the space over any harsh over head light. I also often pepper the room with tea lights in mason jars for a super effective and cost-efficient decorations.
3. Always Have A Theme
If you think themed parties are just for kids, think again! I have always found that a theme not only gets guests more excited, but it makes planning food and decorations way easier (and more fun). I've had everything from a Boogie Nights themed-birthday to an All Things Australia event at my apartment, and guests have never failed to rise to the occasion. And if you're not big on themes, definitely opt on a color scheme for your decorations, as it will help tie everything together and create a more festive and special feel.
4. Music Matters!
Kelly also reminded us to think about our playlist! He recommended starting with older, more classic hits as the night begins, and moving into more contemporary jams as the night and energy progresses. He also reminded us to make a playlist as long as the expected length of the party so that your guests aren't listening to the same songs all night.
5. Make A Signature Drink
A piece for Cosmopolitan about throwing a great party recommended having a signature drink or cocktail — especially one that helps tie the theme together. It's not only incredibly festive, but it can help you cut alcohol costs by just purchasing one kind.
6. And Make That Signature Drink Glow
If you're feeling really ambitious, grab some black lights (which are actually pretty economical at places like Party City) and make your signature drink literally glow. This is great for Halloween, or really any time when you want to totally amp up the fun and creative factor.
7. Include An Element Of Surprise
The super awesome lifestyle blog Oh Happy Day recommended always having an element of surprise at your parties — as in something that will make your guests kind of giddy with excitement. Maybe it's a DIY photo booth wall with fun accessories, like hats and mustaches, or maybe it's a particularly hilarious cardboard cutout of a celeb. Your guests will definitely go crazy — in a good way.
8. Go Big
The team at Oh Happy Day also stressed the importance of going big or going home. "If you get 5 balloons to decorate your party, it will look normal. But if you get a small room and fill it with 500 balloons it is going to make a huge dramatic impact. Take something cheap but do it on a large scale it will be more impressive visually," they wrote.
9. Presentation Is Key
This is another personal tip that has always helped make my parties feel super special. When it comes to thinks like drinks, snacks, and desserts, presentation really makes a big difference. Try serving pretty cocktails in mason jars, or stack cupcakes and candy on a three-tiered tea tray. Your local party supply store likely has a ton of cool and inexpensive options.
10. Lie About The Start Time
I'm not advocating lying on a regular basis, but sometimes little white lies are OK. And according to Complex.com, party start times are one of those more than OK occasions. They recommended telling your super punctual friends the correct start time (say, 9pm), and those of your friends who like to show up several hours late after hitting up several other parties a slightly earlier one, like say, 7:30. That way the flow of people in and out should be pretty consistent.
11. Have Games On Hand
The same Complex.com compilation piece also had the awesome idea of always having some simple games on hand, like Cards Against Humanity or even just a regular stack of playing cards. You never quite predict the energy of a house party, or the kind of activities that will work for each stage of the festivities, so keeping something fun yet low key on hand is always a good idea.
At the end of the day, parties are supposed to be fun, so they're not something to stress about in any real way. However, if you have an occasion where you really want to elevate the festivities, putting in a little work and creativity can pay off in a big way. Now go forth, and party!